As a woman, I’m sure you’re well aware of the hassle that is dealing with your monthly cycle, and the many opportunities for embarrassment that are present during that dreaded week of shedding your endometrial lining.
Recently I found that the “regular” methods of menstrual care were no longer meeting my needs. At the advice of a friend, I went out and bought a DivaCup, and now, three cycles in, I am not looking back.
This post contains affiliate links to some great places to buy DivaCup, here’s how they work.
While I don’t normally write about such personal matters as my “lady time”, I feel compelled to share my experience in the hopes that this option may be just the solution that other women and mamas such as myself might be looking for.
What Is A DivaCup?
The DivaCup is a brand of reusable menstrual cup, which is an alternative to the traditional methods of feminine hygiene products: tampons and pads.
You can read up in detail on menstrual cups here on Wikipedia , but to give you the quick low-down, these handy-dandy little tools are small cups made of silicone, rubber, or thermoplastic elastomer.
They are inserted into the vagina to contain a woman’s monthly flow, emptied into the toilet or sink, washed and reinserted as needed, and boiled to sanitize in between periods.
Reasons to Switch to The DivaCup
More capacity, Less leakage
Before I became pregnant with my first (and only) child, tampons were my go-to when Aunt Flo came a-calling. Then for 26 glorious months, I enjoyed the freedom, that men likely have no concept the awesomeness that they are privy to, of not having a womb that sheds.
When my postpartum period finally appeared, 17-months after giving birth (I know, lucky, right?), I was unprepared for the furious flow that seemed to be making up for lost time.
Postpartum periods tend to be more intense than what you may have experienced before your womb was used as a baby-baking oven. This was the biggest reason for trying out a menstrual cup. Tampons were no match for the flow. I was constantly frustrated by the reoccurrence of leaks, so something had to be done.
Because the cup has a capacity for more fluid than a tampon, it takes a lot more blood to fill it up and less opportunity to leak. In fact, once you have their placement right, seasoned DivaCup users will assure you that they DO NOT LEAK. This is especially appreciated for providing protection to my sheets and mattress overnight while I sleep, without me having to worry about getting up in the night multiple times to change a tampon.
Less frequent changes
Due to the extra capacity of The DivaCup, it needs to be emptied far less often than a tampon or pad needs to be changed.
You can keep it inserted up to 12 hours (although, during heavy days you’ll want to empty it before it fills up), which is twice the amount of time recommended to keep a tampon in before risking toxic shock. There is also no need to remove it when popping into the washroom for #1 or #2.
For a busy mama such as myself, whose toddler doesn’t always want to hang out calmly while I take the time to deal with feminine hygiene, it has been such a blessing to have only one or two pit stops during the day.
It doesn’t dry you out
Vaginal dryness (another thing I don’t normally write about, but here I go) is a fairly common place for breastfeeding women. If I noticed the drying effect that tampons had on my lady bits before giving birth, it was approximately a million times worse once the change in my hormones left my hoo-ha feeling like a desert.
Because The DivaCup is made of silicone, rather than the rayon and/or cotton of a tampon, and catches rather than absorbs liquid, it doesn’t dry you out the way that a tampon will.
Skip those hazardous chemicals
Tampons contain fragrances, super-absorbent chemicals and are bleached using chlorine, which breaks down into an extremely hazardous chemical called dioxin. Even trace amounts of dioxin can do damage.
Now, consider how many tampons a woman uses in the span of her menstruating life. The estimate is between 11-12,000 tampons, according to Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, a retired professor from San Diego State University, and author of The Uterine Crisis . This estimate is not even including teen years, and honestly, how many teenage girls do you think are using big, embarrassing pads under their skin-tight leggings?
Beyond the dioxin, rayon (which is another ingredient in many tampons) goes through quite a process to be made from wood pulp, and this process includes hundreds of different chemicals.
Being that tampons stay right up and personal inside us for hours, and leave fibers behind when removed, an option like the DivaCup is looking a million times safer to me.
If you’re interested in knowing more details about the hazards of tampons, this article is well-written and includes a variety of professional opinions and research.
Waste not, want not
As someone who tries to make “green”, eco-conscious decisions, reusability is a quality I look for in products. Tampons and disposable pads add yet another strain on the landfills and sewer systems, in cases where tampons are flushed.
Besides the simple fact of waste being produced, this kind of garbage in your trash bin can be a source of embarrassment for many women, and so it may get wrapped up in wads of toilet paper as a concealer, causing even more, waste.
Then, of course, there is the utter embarrassment to be faced if your pesky pet finds its way into the bin and retrieves this “prize” to be dragged around the house. Not exactly the kind of décor you may have been hoping for when company comes a-calling.
Since menstrual cups are designed to last for a long period of time, this significantly reduces the wasteful impact of caring for our female processes.
In the case of the DivaCup, the User Guide’s “general guideline”, as it is a personal hygiene product, is to replace it each year, but also mentions that, “Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide when to replace the cup.”
Silicone is very durable, so replacing The DivaCup will depend on factors unique to each woman so it’s recommended to inspect your cup regularly for signs of deterioration such as sticky or powdery film, severe discoloration or odor, or if you start to experience irritation.
Ready to make the switch to an eco-friendly period? Read my tips for how to use the DivaCup.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to some great places to buy DivaCup, here’s how they work.